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Global development graduate programme: which track to apply for?

Category: R&D Global Development | 10 comments

Dear reader,

I have a sense that there might be a little bit of confusion out there as to how exactly the graduate programmes within Global Development are structured and which track to apply for. In fact I can understand if some of you are under the impression that you apply for one programme, and that the exact content of your programme will then later be put into place in terms of which skill area you will be associated with. This is, however, not the case. Let me try and put some words down on how the graduate programmes work within Global Development.

Global Development is the part of the Novo Nordisk organisation that deals with the development of new medicinal products for use within the therapeutic areas that are in the company’s portfolio. This means that we in Global Development ensure that new drugs are investigated sufficiently to demonstrate that they work effectively for the treatment of the specific disease and that they are safe to use. This work involves a lot of different stakeholders, and much of the work in Global Development takes place in study groups where collaboration with people with another academical background and for whom other aspects of the development process may be the primary focus than what is the case for you, is necessary. Such inter-disciplinary work is highly stimulating and gives you the opportunity to build a huge network within the company and to learn from others with more experience and a different background. As examples of specific stakeholders / skill areas involved in the development process are medical doctors, data managers, clinical reporters, trial managers, biostatisticians and health economists. Out of these, Novo Nordisk has put into place graduate programmes for Biostatistics, Trial Management and Health Economics, and the recruitment process asks you to apply directly for one of these tracks.

As I have mentioned in my previous blog post, I am enrolled in the biostatistics graduate programme. My background is from the Department of Mathematics at University of Copenhagen from where I have gained a strong understanding of mathematical statistics, and I have aquired practical experience with applied statistics from related work during my studies. As it says in the job description for the graduate programme in biostatistics, “you must hold a recent master’s degree in statistics and have no more than 1 year of work experience since finishing your studies” to join the graduate programme in biostatistics. I am aware that many master’s programs contain a large amount of statistics without being titled as a master’s degree in statistics. It’s often difficult for others to distiguish whether a certain master’s degree would qualify as being “statistical enough” to make you suitable for this specific programme. If you are convinced that you have the right academical background, then I would encourage you to apply. But bear in mind that working as a statistician – even in the applied sense – is technical and requires mathematical training.

For the other tracks – trial management and health economics – it is more difficult to put into words which academical background is suitable, and for now I will simply state the wording from these programme’s job descriptions (links to those are found here):

Health economics:

“To join the Global Development Graduate Programme as a Health Economics Graduate you must hold a recent master’s degree in health economics, economics, public health, pharmaceutical/medical sciences, or other relevant fields and have no more than 1 year of work experience since finishing your studies.”

Trial management:

“To join the Global Development Graduate Programme as a Trial Management Graduate you must hold a recent master’s degree in natural sciences (e.g. pharmacy, human biology or equivalent) and have no more than 1 year of work experience since finishing your studies.”

I hope this gives some kind of clarification. Feel free to post any questions!

Remember that the deadline for sending us your application is February 9 2013. Follow this link to apply:


Thanks and regards,



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10 Comments to Global development graduate programme: which track to apply for?

  1. Posted January 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
    Andrew Wilson Reed says:

    Hi Oluf,

    Fellow KU graduate here from the Faculty of Economics. I’ve read your blog posts and have a few questions for you. First, did you automatically consider biostatistics over the health economist position and if so was this directly due to your previous work experience at KU? Secondly, in performing your analysis, what sort of statistical packages are you generally using to obtain needed results?

    Thanks for any input you can give.


    Andrew W. Reed

  2. Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:55 am | Permalink
    Sergio says:

    Hi Oluf,I have one question regarding the elegibility requirements…it says “no more than 1 year of work experience since finishing your studies.”, does this mean that I must have less than one year of work experience after my masters degree? or in general after college?…this is because I recently get my masters degree but I worked for a couple of years before doing my masters and Im not sure if I am elegible…Thank you very much, my best wishes.

  3. Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink
    Oluf says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I more or less only considered the biostat track, and this was mainly due a preference for statistics over economics during my studies. It was the same preference that saw me seek employment at the biostat department at university of copenhagen.
    For the stat analyses we use SAS. This is the standard in the industry, primarily due to the fact that it’s a commercialized product meaning that you have someone to hold reliable for making sure that the packages performs correctly and that you can get support. It’s not impossible to make use of other software packages (such as eg. R), but it would make life more difficult, as a lot of extra documentation would need be provided to authorities, as I understand it. I wasn’t a SAS expert when I joined Novo, but I think I picked up farely quickly.

    Best regards,


  4. Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Sergio,

    The formulation regarding “less than 1 year of work experience” is adressing the time elapsed since you finished your master’s degree, and it’s not in iteself an issue if you have worked for a couple of years between your undergraduate and your master’s. I will encourage you to apply.

    Thanks and warmr regards,


  5. Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink
    Niroj says:

    HI Oluf,

    Thanks for providing an insight into global development graduate programme. I am completed my masters in pharmacy and joined Novo Nordisk India Pvt. Ltd. in Nov 2013. I am interested to apply for Trial Management program. As an employee of Novo Nordisk, I would like to know if I am eligible to apply for the program.


  6. Posted January 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
    Oluf says:

    Hi Niroj,

    Current employment with Novo Nordisk is not a problem. Carry on and apply :)

    Warm regards,


  7. Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
    Chelsea says:

    Hi Oluf,

    I am currently in the Master program, and will hopefully graduate in June, 2014. I am wondering whether I am qualified for the criteria “must hold a recent master’s degree”?

    Best Regards, Chelsea

  8. Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
    Pankaj Chhipa says:

    Please help me to get the Job Opportunity in Graduates Programs, How To Enrol or Proceed For The Graduat Programms,

    I Am Having 5 Years of Pharmaceutical R&D Experinece and Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences,

    Hoping Positive Response,


  9. Posted February 18, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink
    Oluf says:

    Hi Pankaj,

    The deadline for applying for this year’s graduate programmes was February 9.
    You can browse through other available jobs here:

    Best regards,


  10. Posted February 18, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink
    Oluf says:

    Hi Chelsea,

    I’m truly sorry for my way to late reply. Yes, finishing your master program June this year certainly satisfies the “must hold a recent master’s degree” criterion.

    Best regards,


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